Imagine sitting in class minding your own business when out of nowhere comes a deafening: BANG! Pop. Pop… followed by more loud noises; screaming; the public address speakers blaring: “Active Shooter: Run. Hide. Fight!”
What would you do?
Team AreKansas spoke with Sgt. David Jones, Emergency Manager and Investigative Supervisor at UWGB’s Public Safety Office – so you might have a better idea of what to do in an Active Shooter situation…
Q: When we hear that BANG, what do we do?
A: Seconds count: The average response time for Police departments is six minutes; UWGB Public Safety is closer to three. You must decide quickly which step to take:
1. Run – This is always the preferred response. If you can get away safely, RUN!
2. Hide – We used to teach students to hide in the classroom, where they would turn lights off and hide in the corner. Today, we train active hiding, where students barricade the doors to keep the shooter out of the room, and fortify/conceal hiding areas.
3. Fight – If the person presents a weapon, attack the weapon. They can still shoot if you kick or punch them in the face; attack the weapon. In elementary and high school we are dependent on teachers to keep us safe; as adults, we are in charge of our own safety in the minutes leading to police help.
Q: How realistic is your training; how often?
A: Younger officers are trained for active shooter scenarios at the Police Academy. We train on how to respond to an active shooter at least twice a year. Before Columbine, training was based around the officer – if they were the first to respond – to wait outside and secure the scene while waiting for SWAT to arrive. Fast-forward to today = every officer is a SWAT guy. Even if it’s just one person, they respond to the threat.
Q: After all is done what do you have in place to respond to the press, and or communicate to parents of students, or spouses of staff?
A: We do have a campus Communications Officer who is trained for when she has to work with us and becomes our Public Affairs Officer. We have several tools at our disposal:
1. GB Alert – Any officer has the ability to text all UWGB students in any emergency;
2. Net Notify – Any computer on campus WI-FI will have an alert message that pops up and will require the student to click on it for it to go away.
3. Strategic Placement of press events to keep media away from an active scene. The Communications Officer will deploy away from the scene to allow the press and parents to be briefed while keeping them a safe distant from the scene and providing police the space to operate.
Q: What are your thoughts on arming teachers?
A: As a department we will do whatever the legislative body decides, we are here to serve the public.
Q: Anything the Public Safety Office needs in the way of tools; funding?
A: Everything we have asked for has been given to us.
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